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April 17, 2015

Exterior Commercial (Washington)
Block 44

Photo by Benjamin Benschneider
Panels for the exterior were prefabricated on-site and flown into place with tower cranes.

Location: Seattle

Contractor: Anning-Johnson

Architect: ZGF Architects

Team: Award Metals, Building Specialties, Cemco, CertainTeed Gypsum, Fry Reglet, Georgia-Pacific, Grabber Construction Products, Hamilton Drywall Products, Hilti, Parex USA, USG Building Systems

Block 44 was a complete shell-and-core project, including tenant buildout of a five- and six-story office building covering a full city block for a large online distributor.

A majority of the exterior is constructed of metal-stud-framed spandrel panels, which were prefabricated on-site and flown into place with tower cranes. Sheathing and fluid-applied weather barrier were installed on the panels in the fab shop, virtually eliminating the need to access the exterior face of the wall for post-panel installation.

The building-information modeling team modeled the exterior and created full shop drawings for the exterior panel scope. These panel shop drawings were used exclusively to lay out, fabricate and construct exterior panels as well as for placing in-panel, heavy steel backing plates for future mounting of exterior decorative sunshade elements. The accuracy and effectiveness of the panel shop drawings were huge parts of the success of this project.

The project also had complex lower-level exterior soffits circumnavigating each building, which created a hidden exterior air plenum around the building. Variable ground-floor elevations, building construction sequence and public safety structures made physical access to these soffits extremely difficult and dangerous. The team was careful to use specialty safety equipment to access the work.

Judge’s comment: “This office building is located in the middle of many other downtown office buildings yet stands apart. The intricate exterior along with impeccable construction have created an outstanding building that will be enjoyed by the people of Seattle for a long time.”

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